Movie Review : 3.75/5
There is lot of expectation on Dasavataram for very good reasons; the cast, the crew, the hype and every thing about it. Dasavataram, in which Kamal plays 10 roles, has nothing to do with Vishnu's Dasavataram or generations. He plays 10 roles in the film and most of them are outstanding. In a way this is a definition of what an actor Kamal Hasan is. Not just an actor, but he also provided the story, dialogs and screenplay for this film. Hats off to him.
Grand, Magnumopus, brilliant are the words to be used for Dasavataram in terms of making, production, technical efforts and Kamal Hasan. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the film is on par with any big Hollywood film. First half of the film is extraordinary. Background score by Devisri, Camera by Ravi Varman and editing by Antony are superb. Graphics and visual effects are amazing. Apart from Kamal Hasan, the film is a true show of the technical efforts put forward by the crew. No wonder, the film took 2 years in production. One would realize it after seeing it on the screen. The film has its negatives too. But no matter what it is, the film should be seen once for the first half and all the 10 roles superbly done.
The film has two parts to it. One is the first 15 minutes of the film that is narrated in the 10th century and the rest of the film in 2004.
Movie starts out centuries ago when Vaishnavites are overruled by Shaivaites. One of the areas in which both Nataraja (Lord Siva form) and Ranganatha Swamy (Lord Vishnu form) are receiving poojas regularly is eyed by the then King (played by Napolean) and he decides to unearth the Ranganatha Swamy idol and throw it into the sea. This is pictured brilliantly (if you miss this part in the film, you missed the best part). Graphics and picturization are magnanimous.
Narration then moves to 2004. This is the stage where Kamal Hasan appears in 9 other different roles as – Raja Raja Nandi (priest in 10th century), President of United states, Govind (main lead in the film, a scientist), old women, Tall muslim guy, famous pop singer Avatar Singh, RAW investigating officer Nadar, Punya Koti (a Christian who fights against sand dwelling near the seas and rivers), Yugi (A Japanese Martial arts guy) and Bob Flecher (A CIA trained agent). Kudos to the makeup man! In few shots, it looks artificial for a few characters but it gelled excellent for Bob Flecher, President of US, Nadar, Punyakoti and Avatar Singh.
Of the 10 roles he played, best of the lot are Bob Flecher, old women, Nadar and the President. Govind is usual Kamal Hasan. Dialogs for the old women and Nadar are excellently penned. Dialogs are written by Kamal Hasan himself in Tamil and translated by vennelakanti. At times, the dialogs remind of Crazy Mohan's. All in all, dialogs are done well.
High light of the 10 will be the Flecher role. He is the villain in the film who is after Govind for a Synthetic Bio-warfare weapon. His accent, makeup and performance are just amazing. Even his dialogs are penned well and at times are filled with sarcasm.
It will be little whatever is said about the 10 roles he did. Now, getting into the story; The point of the film is subtly left to the audience for their judgment on science and religion, even though emphasis goes towards religion. A natural calamity happens but that is to save millions of lives, seemed to be the point. But that discussion seems to have lost somewhere in the chasings or it is not conveyed properly.
First 15 minutes of the first half is shown in 10th century narration and then the film moves to US. About 30-40 minutes of the film continues in. It will seem as if one is watching an Hollywood action flick. This continues until the narration moves to India and then to Chidambaram. Comedy is added through the roles of Nadar and Bhamma (old women) at this point and provides the required relief.
First half of the film is brilliant and raises the expectations. Curiosity on how all these characters will be linked and how the narration done centuries ago will be linked to all these characters will take the front seat by the interval. After the interval, the film revolves mostly on the chases paving way to the Climax. But the curiosity factor is disappointed and would feel like the soul is missing.
Another negative factor in the film is that the chemistry between Kamal Hasan and Asin is not sketched out properly. And the songs are not that great. Except for the first one rendered by Hariharan and is pictured in the centuries ago plot, the rest of the songs are not that impressive. Director K.S.Ravikumar makes a special appearance towards the end of the film and enacts the Lokanayakuda song. Tamilnadu CM Karunanidhi makes a special appearance while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is enacted by someone. President of US (done by Kamal Hasan) is also on the same dais. Interesting thing is the dialogs; mannerisms are nicely enacted by Kamal, almost very close to George Bush. A few dialogs like what does NaCl stand for and can we not just bomb the vile with a nuclear weapon will receive good laughs from the audience.
Even though good part of the dialogs is in English and Tamil is used by Nadar here and there, care is taken so that it will be understood by all. Screenplay of the film is good in the first half and is average in the second half. One thing to be appreciated is there is not even a single moment of confusion even though 10 characters are by done one. K.S.Ravikumar's style of comic touch is seen in the first half.
In the cast, most of the roles are played by Kamal himself. In other roles are Asin, Jayaprada, Mallika Sherawant and Napolean. Napolean appears in very short role but is very effective. Asin looked beautiful and did her role to content. Mallika Sherawat played a CIA operative. Jayaprada sparks in one song as wife of Avatar Singh.
Overall, the film is technically brilliant and is a sure watch for once.
1. 10 different roles and superb performance by Kamal
2. Good background score, editing and cinematography
3. Amazing graphics and makeup
4. First half of the film, especially the first fifteen minutes of the film
2. 10 Century plot not getting linked convincingly in the second half
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(Scale: 1-Worst/Avoid 2-Below Average 3-Average/one see 4-Good/Must see 5-Excellent)
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